ERIC Number: ED210912
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: N/A
The Push Toward Communication.
Higgs, Theodore V.; Clifford, Ray
The pervasive notion of communicative competence has all too often been translated in terms of an instructional goal as minimum communicative competence. The second language learner who is actually preparing to function at a relatively high level of sophistication in the target language culture is not benefitted by reliance on paralinguistic strategies, a large vocabulary at the expense of grammar skills, or the aid of a sympathetic listener. This observation may be illustrated by reference to the five skill levels of oral proficiency which characterize the Foreign Service Institute rating. Instructional methods which emphasize acquisition of vocabulary and neglect grammatical structures tend to produce the "terminal 2," who research says is cognitively incapable of later acquiring the necessary grammar to come closer to native-speaker competence. In actuality, the proportion of different skills (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, fluency, and sociolinguistic) that contribute to a speaker's competence may be shown to differ from one level of global proficiency to another, with all skills approximately converging at the native speaker (5) level. Curricula should allow for progression among all levels, not only providing immediate vocabulary needs, but anticipating the other skills that become increasingly important as the student moves toward true proficiency. (JB)
Descriptors: Achievement Rating, Communicative Competence (Languages), Curriculum Development, Language Proficiency, Language Skills, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Speech Skills, Student Educational Objectives
Not available separately; see FL 012 669.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Foreign Service Institute DC
Note: Figure 2 may not reproduce clearly because of small print.